“Dress for the Sess”

Hello Summer, it is so nice to see you!!

With the warmer weather and longer days, it is the perfect time to think about family photos and engagement sessions. The most frequently asked question I receive is “what should we wear?” This is an important question with an answer to which I will give a lengthy response, share my opinion, and give some examples. Taking this advice for your session does require some effort. Viewing your photos and deciding that you didn’t wear the appropriate clothes will instantly change your feelings on your photography session. Those photos will likely end up stored and forgotten. Therefore, you will be happy you put the time into outfitting yourself, your partner, and your family.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Work with a color palette.

You don’t need to match exactly but rather have all the colors work together harmoniously. It is like putting together a bouquet of flowers or décor for your home. The best-curated items work together rather than match exactly. Within the family you can certainly match a top for a couple family members or even have the kids match. However, try to avoid each person wearing the identical top and bottom. Everyone has his or her own personality so the same should be said for the clothes.

  1. Dress yourself first!

I cannot stress this enough. As moms and dads we all think about our kids first. But let’s face it, our kids look adorable in anything. There are very few clothing items that are “the wrong fit” for kids. The same is not said for us. We are our harshest critics. Some people choose to have only their children photographed for fear of how they might look behind the camera. Stop!! For real, you are beautiful and loved. When you look back over time you want to have documented the whole family, not just your kids. Your kids love and adore you, so be kind to yourself and be in the photos! Do it for your kids. This is why it is important to start with you. You should pick a color that makes you feel good or clothes that complement your body shape. Once you have settled on the clothes for the adults then move on to coordinating outfits for the kids.

  1. Think about the season and the location.

What will be the colors in the background? What feel do you want to evoke with the photos?  Spring and summer are bright, cheery, and warm. This is exactly what should be reflected in the colors of the clothing. When the fall makes it debut we talk about hot cocoa and sweater weather. The leaves begin to change and the rich colors of fall are a magnificent background. But that background adds specific colors that should be remembered when picking a wardrobe.   Also consider where your photos are being taken. If you are playing in the park then you might want t- shirts and sandals. If you are among gardens and grand architecture, it is best to choose something a bit more formal, perhaps dresses and button down shirts.

  1. There is never a wrong color or pattern but there are more complementary ones

If someone asked you what color you feel most comfortable in, what would you say? I think the majority of women might immediately respond with black. There are times when it is a great color to wear, but it would not be my first choice for photos. It seems too formal and harsh for many outdoor settings. Since it is always nice to have basic colors somewhere in the wardrobe, my suggestion for those basics would be white, navy, and gray, instead of black. Navy can be just as sliming as black yet it coordinates much better with the surrounding nature. It can be both formal and casual depending on the item of clothing.   When it comes to patterns, it is better to use them sparingly and to keep them coordinated with other colors. And lastly, when it comes to putting outfits together for a whole group, everyone should be equally formal in attire. If you envision photos being taken in a fancy dress then everyone should go fancy.

  1. Think about the vibe you want for your photos.

Are you looking for a casual family outing where the kids can roll in the grass? Or do you want formal attire to be what hangs on your wall? If you do choose formal clothing, don’t be afraid to let your kids still be kids. They are best captured when they are being themselves. A wardrobe should never restrict personality and participation. If you do want to do something formal, you can consider multiple outfits if both time and cooperation from kids will allow. You can also consider something that can be dressed up or down. Pair your denim with a tee and sandals then do a quick change to a silk top and nice jewelry for two very different looks. I especially stress an outfit change for engagement photos. Your engagement photos will probably be the nicest photos of you and your fiancée which aren’t taken in your wedding attire, until you schedule that very first family session! You will appreciate having some variety to your photos down the road.

  1. Consider how the photos will be displayed.

Are you planning on using the session for cards, albums, or gifts? Will they be displayed in your house? Is there a wall in your house that needs art? Do you want a large, fine art print to hang for everyone to see? I think it is an important gift to you and your family to have professional photos taken many times over the years. The way we document our family with the camera has evolved over time. Our sessions include more candid and real moments. They capture the love and bond of a family or the excitement and anticipation of an upcoming nuptial. You will receive a number of photos from your session. While you may not put them all up for display, I hope that they become cherished art on the wall to show how everyone has grown. Precious moments and memories should be cherished and shared. If you know where you would like the photos to be displayed in your house, then think about how you want to view your family each day when you glance at the portrait on the wall.

  1. Lastly and most important, remember to be yourself.

You love your family and they love you. It is the little moments and interactions that are magical. It is those moments that the camera and you will love. No matter your wardrobe or how you might feel with cameras focused on you, be present in the moment. You should enjoy, have fun together and laugh together. Try your best not to be concerned about soiling an outfit or forcing the kids to behave in a certain manner. It is all just precious memories to be captured and revisited later. First and foremost these images are for you and you will love to look back on whatever stage your children were in at the time. We have two small children. We know all too well that it is impossible to keep them focused at all times. They want to run, jump, play, and assert their independence. Trying to change the little people will only make a session more difficult. Let the kids be kids. We have seen and dealt with it first hand, so never be concerned about us. However from one mom to another, I do suggest offering some type of reward for good behavior and participation (ice cream maybe?). It never hurts!

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